The publisher of the Russian version of Forbes magazine - AS Rus Media JSC filed a lawsuit against Safmar Group JSC in the Moscow Arbitration Court, a media company representative told Vedomosti. "Vedomosti" read the mark of the court on the adoption of this statement.
Forbes demands to declare Safmara’s publicly disseminated statement about the allegedly corrupt journalists of this publication as untrue and discrediting the reputation.
The reason for the statement "Safmar" was an article in Forbes by Julia Titova, Yana Milyukova, Sergey Titov and Elena Tofanyuk that the total debt of companies associated with the family of Mikhail Gutseriev, is about 1 trillion rubles. ($ 15 billion). The text was released on October 11, the publication referred to the information of several unnamed sources and open data. Mikhail Gutseriev is Chairman of the Board of Directors of Safmar Group and NK Russneft. In 2019, the Gutseriev family (Mikhail Gutseriev, his brother Sait-Salam Gutseriev, son Said Gutseriev and nephew Bilan Uzhakhov) took the first line of the richest families in Russia according to Forbes. In total, the publication estimated the state of family members at $ 5.65 billion.
After that, the Safmar group issued a statement that Forbes material was an outright lie and defamation. “None of the figures given in the article is true,” the report said. The publication’s leadership acts as an example of corrupt and cheapest tabloid journalism, Safmar said.
A Forbes spokesman said in response that Safmar was given the opportunity to present his detailed position in the text: "We consider such statements unacceptable."
In the lawsuit, Forbes requires Safmar to post on its official website a text refuting a previously circulated statement, as well as compensate the publication for the costs of examining the statement and for the court fee (about 100,000 rubles in total), a spokesman told Vedomosti.
The representative of "Safmar" declined to comment, citing the fact that a copy of the statement of claim was not received by the group.
In his text, Forbes named Sberbank and Trust Bank among the largest creditors of Safmara. According to Forbes sources, the Gutseriev family owed Sberbank $ 5 billion (325 billion rubles), and Shishkhanov owed Trust Bank 320 billion rubles. Earlier, on October 7, Sberbank approved a $ 1 billion loan to Safmar Gutseriev Group for the modernization of the Afipsky refinery. The debt of the refinery to Sberbank is more than 170 billion rubles., RBC wrote. In addition, Russneft, controlled by Gutseriev, owes VTB 77 billion rubles. The businessman’s companies owed several more banks, but the amount of each of these loans does not exceed 10 billion rubles. A source surrounded by Gutseriev told Forbes that the businessman does not recognize the debt of the Afipsky refinery. “The amount of debts mentioned in open sources is very close to 1 trillion rubles. - 970 billion rubles. ", - wrote the publication.
Over the past three years, the debts of family structures have almost doubled, their volume may be 1% of the assets of the entire banking system, the newspaper notes.